Behavioral Health: Crisis Resource Centers

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The Crisis Resource Centers team
The Crisis Resource Centers team

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:33 pm

Crisis Resource Centers

Milwaukee Center for Independence

In 2007, Milwaukee’s first Crisis Resource Center opened its doors to provide an alternative to involuntary emergency room admissions for those experiencing psychiatric crises.

Over the past 12 years, the program – run by parent organization Milwaukee Center for Independence – has expanded from one seven-bed facility on the city’s south side to two Milwaukee facilities with 27 beds.

Providing an alternative to emergency departments and criminal justice facilities is important for those experiencing crises, as those settings can contribute to clients being re-traumatized and their mental health symptoms being exacerbated. 

The CRCs offer 24-7 services, including recovery-focused assessment, stabilization, psychosocial groups and peer support. The facilities see about 100 admissions monthly, with a growing number of daily walk-in non-admissions.

The average length of stay at a CRC is seven days, but it is individualized for each patient, with a focus on linking clients to services upon their discharge.

The CRCs have built strong partnerships with health systems, law enforcement, homeless outreach organizations and the Milwaukee County Health Division to reduce the rate of inpatient psychiatric admissions, according to Dan Baker, director of Crisis Resource Centers.

Baker said the CRCs have seen an increase in self-referrals among clients, reflecting a growing awareness of the service and people feeling empowered to access the care they need.

“We’re really proud of the program we’ve been able to develop, as well as the partnerships and collaborations systematically we’ve been able to develop around it to help people in need,” Baker said. “It’s a true passion.”

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